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The chief objection to the New England Puritans, of course, is not that they burned Indians at the stake… but that they cursed the country with crude cookery and uneatable victuals. The pumpkin pie, clam chowder, the mince pie, pork and beans–these are some of the awful things we have inherited from those gross and chilblained moralists. Thecommon notion that they also gave us roast turkey, with its attendant sauce of cranberries, is an error arising out of the imbecility of the persons who manufacture covers for the November magazines. As a matter of fact, the turkey was unknown in New England until the downfall of the theocracy
and the repeal of the blue laws against intellectual eating.
The customary Thanksgiving fowl, in witch-burning days, was the common jack rabbit, with the puddle duck as an
occasional variant. The turkey, as every sophomore in
victuality is aware, really hails from Virginia, and the cranberry from the miasmatic marshes of New Jersey…

–H.L. Mencken, “The Fried Smelt,” Baltimore _Evening Sun_, 1910 December 17.


A Serf's Thanksgiving

Thank you for the widow's cry,
For a hovel like a sty.
Thank you for the bitter cold
For all the joys of growing old.

Thank you for each loathe disease,
For all the tyrants at their ease.
Thank you for our hunger pangs,
For itchy rash and tiger fangs.

Thank you for each child that dies,
For priestly frauds and bishops' lies.
Thank you for each rotten smell,
For penance, Purgatory, Hell.

Thank you for each "witch's" fate,
For ignorance and fear and hate.
Thank you for the spider's sting.
Thank you, God, for everything.

--Robert W. Whitaker, ca. 1975


Art Buchwald: Chacun à son goût, or why we eat turkey


Mrs. Paris Singer was attending a garage sale in Bethesda when she came across a yellowed newspaper clipping dated 1952. It was titled “Explaining Thanksgiving to the French.” She bought it for $10.
Much to her surprise, when she took it to an expert at the Library of Congress, he told her it was a collector’s item, and there were only five of them left in the world. It was valued at $80,000. It now hangs in Mrs. Singer’s living room under glass.

[Most sources say 1953. The first paragraph may have been added in subsequent reprintings.]

This confidential column was leaked to me by a high government official in the Plymouth colony on the condition that I not reveal his name.

One of our most important holidays is Thanksgiving Day, known in France as le Jour de Merci Donnant.

Le Jour de Merci Donnant was first started by a group of Pilgrims (Pèlerins) who fled from l’Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World (le Nouveau Monde) where they could shoot Indians (les Peaux-Rouges) and eat turkey (dinde) to their heart’s content.

They landed at a place called Plymouth (a famous voiture Américaine) in a wooden sailing ship called the Mayflower (or Fleur de Mai) in 1620. But while the Pèlerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pèlerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pèlerins was when they taught them to grow corn (maïs).

The reason they did this was because they liked corn with their Pèlerins.

In 1623, after another harsh year, the Pèlerins’ crops were so good that they decided to have a celebration and give thanks because more maïs was raised by the Pèlerins than Pèlerins were killed by Peaux-Rouges.

Every year on the Jour de Merci Donnant, parents tell their children an amusing story about the first celebration.

It concerns a brave capitaine named Miles Standish (known in France as Kilomètres Deboutish) and a young, shy lieutenant named Jean Alden. Both of them were in love with a flower of Plymouth called Priscilla Mullens (no translation). The vieux capitaine said to the
jeune lieutenant:

“Go to the damsel Priscilla (allez très vite chez Priscilla), the
loveliest maiden of Plymouth (la plus jolie demoiselle de
Plymouth). Say that a blunt old captain, a man not of words but of action (un vieux Fanfan la Tulipe), offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a soldier. Not in these words, you know, but this, in short, is my meaning.

“I am a maker of war (je suis un fabricant de la guerre) and not a maker of phrases. You, bred as a scholar (vous, qui êtes pain comme un etudiant), can say it in elegant language, such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers, such as you think best adapted to win the heart of the maiden.”

Although Jean was fit to be tied (convenable à être emballé), friendship prevailed over love and he went to his duty. But instead of using elegant language, he blurted out his mission. Priscilla was muted with amazement and sorrow (rendue muette par l’étonnement et la tristesse).

At length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence: “If the great captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me, why does he not come himself and take the trouble to woo me?” (Où est-il, le vieux Kilomètres? Pourquoi ne vient-il pas auprès de moi pour tenter sa chance?)

Jean said that Kilomètres Deboutish was very busy and didn’t have time for those things. He staggered on, telling what a wonderful husband Kilomètres would make. Finally Priscilla arched her eyebrows and said in a tremulous voice, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, Jean?” (Chacun à son goût.)

And so, on the fourth Thursday in November, American families sit down at a large table brimming with tasty dishes, and for the only time during the year eat better than the French do.

No one can deny that le Jour de Merci Donnant is a grande fête and no matter how well fed American families are, they never forget to give thanks to Kilomètres Deboutish, who made this great day

Frank Forman

Posted in NetHappenings

Toxic Plastic Numbers #3 #4 #5 #6 #7

“Resin ID Codes.” Each number (1 through 6) signifies a specific type of plastic and usually appears inside a small triangle (often formed by three adjoining arrows) imprinted on the bottom of a plastic item.  The number “7” is used to represent a group of other plastics or combinations of plastics.

Lax regulations

“The use of these chemicals is totally unregulated internationally,” Cooper said. “So even if there is a voluntary agreement in domestic markets, the cheap stuff from developing countries or export processing zones makes it on to our shelves and into our homes.”

Among the more worrying materials for contaminate leaching is PVC (polyvinyl chloride), commonly referred to as vinyl. The chemicals leached during the PVC lifecycle include mercury, dioxins and phthalates. PVC is used in numerous consumer products, including adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, solvents, automotive plastics, plastic clothing, personal-care products (such as soap, shampoo, deodorants, fragrances, hair spray, nail polish), as well as toys and building materials.

Organizations including the U.S.-based National Toxicology Program, the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health agree that vinyl is one of only 52 chemicals/compounds designated as a confirmed human carcinogen.

Often found on the bottom of plastic bottles, other containers, and shopping bags, the numbers and letters shown with the chasing-arrows “recycling” symbol mean the following:

#1 PETE or PET (polyethylene terephthalate): used for most clear beverage bottles.

  • #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene): used for “cloudy” milk and water jugs, opaque food bottles.
  • Number 3 Plastics #3 PVC or V (polyvinyl chloride): used in some cling wraps (especially commercial brands), some “soft” bottles
    V (Vinyl) or PVC
    Found in: Cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging
    Harvard-educated Dr. Leo Trasande of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine advises consumers to avoid number 3 plastics for food and drinks. (If you’re unsure, look for the little symbol that should be printed on the container. Some brands have left the symbols off, which is a major problem.)

    Why? Number 3 plastics may release toxic breakdown products (including pthalates) into food and drinks.

    The risk is highest when containers start wearing out, are put through the dishwasher or when they are heated (including microwaved). PVC manufacturing can release highly toxic dioxins into the environment, and the materials can off-gas toxic plasticizers into your home.

  • #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene): used in food storage bags and some “soft” bottles.
  • #5 PP (polypropylene): used in rigid containers, including some baby bottles, and some cups and bowls.

  • #6 PS (polystyrene): used in foam “clam-shell”-type containers, meat and bakery trays, and in its rigid form, clear take-out containers, some plastic cutlery and cups. Polystyrene may leach styrene into food it comes into contact with. A recent study in Environmental Health Perspectivesconcluded that some styrene compounds leaching from food containers are estrogenic (meaning they can disrupt normal hormonal functioning). Styrene is also considered a possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.
    Number 6 Plastics PS (polystyrene) Found in: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers Number 6 plastics (polystyrene) are made into soft Styrofoam-style cups as well as rigid foams and hard plastic products, so remember to look for those little numbers in the arrows (don’t feel bad if you need a magnifying glass). Avoid using them as much as possible. Why? Number 6 plastics can release potentially toxic breakdown products (including styrene). Get this: particularly when heated! That insulated coffee cup — the one that ‘knows’ when to keep your drink warm — doesn’t seem so smart anymore does it?

  • #7 Other (usually polycarbonate):  replace with 1, 5 or corn-based plastics, or even shatter-resistant glass.
    used in 5-gallon water bottles, some baby bottles, some metal can linings. Polycarbonate can release its primary building block, bisphenol A, another suspected hormone disruptor, into liquids and foods. In 1998, the Japanese government ordered manufacturers there to recall and destroy polycarbonate tableware meant for use by children because it contained excessive amounts of bisphenol A. Other sources of potential bisphenol A exposure

Water Stored in Plastic Water bottles are be made from various types of plastic — polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Polypropylene (PP), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl), and others. To reiterate, they all migrate to some degree. I will focus on just one chemical that migrates out of one plastic that is used to make products with high use and sales profiles. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a monomer used in the synthesis of PC plastics, epoxy resins, and composites, as well as a heat stabilizer in PVC. The list of products containing BPA is long. Some rigid containers such as water and baby bottles are made of PC. The popular Nalgene® water bottles are made of Lexan® brand PC. In the medical industry, it is used for syringes, containers, lenses, and dental products. Keep in mind that the FDA regulates only plastics in contact with foods and not any of the other exposures a person might commonly experience every day at home, school, or the office. Because the FDA approves plastics for specific uses rather than for individual chemicals, BPA is not explicitly regulated.[20] It is important to note that all exposures, no matter what origin, are relevant and cumulative. Even other chemicals that act in the body in similar ways can be part of the total effect. The body’s natural defenses try to breakdown toxins as they enter. These are called metabolites and can be significantly more toxic than the original chemical.

Posted in NetHappenings

It’s Inevitable that K12 Schools and the Dept. of Ed Should be Dismantled

#FinLit #Robots, #SocialSecurity #long-termMedicalCare
#CareertechEd #STEM #Busedu #projectbasedlearning #citizen #commons #Studentdata #privacy #eddata #policywonk #PARCC #NAEP #CommonCore #CharterSchools #cyberplayground

@smarick @EduShyster @EducationNext @PoliticsK12 @CCSSO @Morning_Edu @caitlinzemma @K12newsletters @nethappenings @cyberplayground @EdTechTopNews @MichaelPetrilli @jennhatfield1 @AEIeducation “.@rickhess99 @jennhatfield1 @valeriestrauss @smarick @PoliticsK12

It’s Inevitable that K12 Schools and the Dept. of Ed Should be Dismantled

K12 Education is a total business success story!

How to Destroy Education While Making a Trillion Dollars
“Race to Top” made huge big changes in states a lot of money was deverted from the “commons” to the private profitteers – they all got rich! $7,000,000,000 on turnarounds! This was never about helping the K12 kids learn!

2015 NATIONS REPORT CARD #NAEP results “a train wreck”
the nation’s reading and math scores were down almost across the board on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This marked a striking shift from a quarter-century of steady increases on the NAEP, which is informally known as “the nation’s report card” and has been given pretty much every other year since 1990.

Ohio’s decision to lower its cut score for proficiency on the PARCC test is bad news for #CommonCore. PARCC is in what looks like a death spiral: Once adopted by 26 states, it’s now used by fewer than ten.

PARCC Restructures, Allows States to Customize Test

Race to the Top Final Reports

America’s Past
When they passed the child labor laws they had to do something with the kids so the 1% sends them to school and make the 99% factory workers out of them.

The Present
Nobody running for president is talking about how you are going to run a country when people no longer have to work. The Dept of Ed employees are anointed and appointed and they spend your tax dollar doing business with their friends, just like any other business.

The National Association of School Superintendents and all the book publishers and testing companies get to keep the status quo going, the Supply Chain Profiteers never want anything to change.

So the K12 “Common Core” is a red herring that takes your eye off the ball. It stops us from talking about the real issue. The common core curriculum was built for <testing> which is supposed to measure company profit.

How Big Business is Dismantling our Public School System
Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Andrew Cuomo, and Arne Duncan, who are owned by greedy, big business: Pearson Learning, Gates Foundation, Walton Family, Eli Broad, Koch Brothers, and Bradley Foundation.

White Americans are, in increasing numbers, killing themselves, directly or indirectly. Middle-aged whites have “lost the narrative of their lives.” That is, their economic setbacks have hit hard because they expected better. The american dream became existential despair.~ Krugman

New York City finds one in five adults has mental health problems.

They would all be cured if the Residents of Park Ave gave everyone 75,000 a year salary!

The B.S., Masters & Ph.D degrees in Education aren’t worth paying for.
Not one of these College Education Degrees demand that every School District person hired knows technology – hardware or software! Its 2015 and you can’t even find out if every school ever built their own website!!!

How are you going to save enough for retirement? if a baby born today in 2015 can have an expectation to live until they are 150 years old? Not a joke!
Dawn of gene-editing medicine?

In 5 years, there will be no distinction between online advisors (algorithms) and human advisors. Any human left in the biz will be technology-enabled. The average age of a financial advisor is 50.9. – 73 million millennials are now entering peak earning and spending years. Mismatch.
Banks are the best socialists.
“Big six banks set for downgrade in credit market shocker”

Success Metrics Questioned in School Program Funded by Goldman
“[Goldman Sachs] seems to have either performed a miracle, or these kids weren’t in line for special education” its investment in a Utah preschool program had helped 109 “at-risk” kindergartners avoid special education. The investment also resulted in a $260,000 payout for the Wall Street firm, the first of many payments that is expected from the investment.

Treasuries Are Rigged
Banks accused of manipulating the when-issued market for pre-auction Treasuries to squeeze out extra profits. Traders at global banks colluded to artificially inflate the price of instruments that allow them to sell U.S. debt before they own it, and then bought the debt at auctions for an artificially suppressed price, unfairly profiting at investors’ expense, according to several lawsuits filed against the banks beginning in July.
U.S. officials investigating the $12.8 trillion market for U.S. Treasuries are zeroing in on a practice of trading the debt before it’s issued. Treasuries trading the least transparent corners of the world’s largest debt market. When-issued securities act as placeholders for bills, notes or bonds before they’re auctioned. The instruments change hands over the counter, with lifespans of just days. There’s scant public information on trading volumes or the market’s biggest players.

Behind an Estimated $30 Trillion Drain on Banks, a Lot of Hypotheticals

The Business of War – where lots of folks seem to find employment.

People writing we must “stop terrorism with war” have not been following history.
Terrorism is not a religion!
“Whoever kills an innocent person it is as if he has killed all of humanity..” Quran 5:32

The NSA is the Washington region’s largest employer.
The National Cryptologic School functions as a sort of college for the National Security Agency and the intelligence community. They classes for people who are just joining the shadowy agency: NSA 101. It has a separate college focused on cyber security and cyber operations. More than 1,300 courses can be taught not only at their satellite campuses but online worldwide through secure connections. James Aldrich, the school’s deputy commandant.

The Most Militarized Universities in America

Our military has not won a war since World War II

Pentagon Farmed Out Its Coding to Russia
The Pentagon was tipped off in 2011 by a longtime Army contractor that Russian computer programmers were helping to write computer software for sensitive U.S. military communications systems, setting in motion a four-year federal investigation that ended this week with a multimillion-dollar fine against two firms involved in the work.

©1993 The Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Internet History
was the first website that allowed schools to submit their own websites if they had/have one. Many schools STILL don’t have their own website. Here are the ones that do.

K12 Total Fail: School Districts still don’t even demand that someone knows how to operate a ham radio, who knows morse code so that they can be ready to help the community when the technology goes down! Which can happen — so just how stupid is that??

Privacy Act of 1974; Computer Matching Program Between the Department of Education and the Department of Justice.


Gartner expects that by 2025, one-third of today’s jobs will be replaced by machines. University of Oxford researchers think that number will reach 47% by 2033. In the future, technology – robots included – will become an even more common part of the workplace.
Robots will replace Citizens who won’t have or need jobs, now they can stay home with the kids, don’t need schools, so the Dept. of Ed is dismantled. School buildings become the common space shared by the community.


Nobody is talking about or thinks this through.

The Robots are Coming and and American’s schools are still doing it the same old way – training students for the very jobs the robots are taking. Math, reading and writing skills won’t stop a robot from doing your job. The College degree in education must start teaching future policy wonks, and teachers that children our future workers will need the skills that robots can’t emulate, like emotional intelligence and problem-solving.

That future will require workers to think creatively, work collaboratively, deepen their emotional IQ, and integrate technology into everything they do.

The following approaches won’t be replicated by robots any time soon.

1) Interdisciplinary Study – work in teams and synthesize knowledge from multiple subject areas to solve real-world problems.

2) Project-based learning, which empowers students to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills.

3) Social-emotional learning to improve students’ emotional intelligence. Better understand emotions, develop empathy, foster positive relationships and make responsible decisions.

But is it already too late?

The Fourth industrial revolution, after steam, mass production and electronics replacing human workers with robots saves up to 90%. But somebody has to create everything and there is a massive IT skills shortage. We need There is a massive IT skills shortage and IT management workers

Robot revolution: rise of ‘thinking’ machines could exacerbate inequality Global economy will be transformed over next 20 years at risk of growing inequality, say analysts.

A “robot revolution” will transform the global economy over the next 20 years, cutting the costs of doing business but exacerbating social inequality, as machines take over everything from caring for the elderly to flipping burgers, according to a new study.

As well as robots performing manual jobs, such as hoovering the living room or assembling machine parts, the development of artificial intelligence means computers are increasingly able to “think”, performing analytical tasks once seen as requiring human judgment.

In a 300-page report, revealed exclusively to the Guardian, analysts from investment bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch draw on the latest research to outline the impact of what they regard as a fourth industrial revolution, after steam, mass production and electronics.

“We are facing a paradigm shift which will change the way we live and work,” the authors say. “The pace of disruptive technological innovation has gone from linear to parabolic in recent years. Penetration of robots and artificial intelligence has hit every industry sector, and has become an integral part of our daily lives.”

However, this revolution could leave up to 35% of all workers in the UK, and 47% of those in the US, at risk of being displaced by technology over the next 20 years, according to Oxford University research cited in the report, with job losses likely to be concentrated at the bottom of the income scale.

“The trend is worrisome in markets like the US because many of the jobs created in recent years are low-paying, manual or services jobs which are generally considered ‘high risk’ for replacement,” the bank says.

“One major risk off the back of the take-up of robots and artificial intelligence is the potential for increasing labor polarisation, particularly for low-paying jobs such as service occupations, and a hollowing-out of middle income manual labor jobs.”

The authors calculate that the total global market for robots and artificial intelligence is expected to reach $152.7bn (£99bn) by 2020, and estimate that the adoption of these technologies could improve productivity by 30% in some industries.

They point out that Google bought eight robotics companies in a two-month period in 2014, from Boston Dynamics, which makes the BigDog robot, to DeepMind, specialising in deep learning for artificial intelligence.

In the most advanced manufacturing sectors – among Japan’s car makers, for example – robots are already able to work unsupervised round the clock for up to 30 days without interruption. While offshoring manufacturing jobs to low-cost economies can save up to 65% on labor costs, replacing human workers with robots saves up to 90%.

At present, there are on average 66 robots per 10,000 workers worldwide, the report finds; but in the highly automated Japanese car sector there are 1,520.

But it is not just low-skilled jobs, such as assembly-line work, that could be replaced: a report from the McKinsey Global Institute in 2013 found that up to $9tn in global wage costs could be saved as computers take over knowledge-intensive tasks such as analysing consumers’ credit ratings and providing financial advice.

Enthusiasts for the rise of robots argue that they can overcome the foibles and fallibilities of human workers. The report cites research that showed judges tend to be more draconian in the runup to lunchtime and more lenient once they have eaten, for example.


Posted in NetHappenings

Dating the Demise of Silicon Valley by Daniel Berninger

Dating the Demise of Silicon Valley

by Daniel Berninger, founder, VCXC

The decision of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to extend the reach of the Communication Act of 1934 via the Open Internet Order to computer networks exposes Silicon Valley to the possibility of regulation for the first time. This threatens the global information technology leadership of the United States and the innovation engine known as Silicon Valley. No one disputes the “Silicon” in Silicon Valley traces to the lease William Shockley signed in January 1956 locating Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory at 391 San Antonio Avenue in Mountain View. Gordon Moore of Moore’s Law fame and one of Shockley’s first recruits points to another event during the same month on January 24, 1956. The signing of the Consent Decree negotiated by Attorney General Herbert Brownell settling the Department of Justice antitrust litigation against AT&T pending since 1949.
The genius of the transistor won Shockley and his co-inventors the Nobel Prize by the end of the same year in 1956. The rise of Silicon Valley nonetheless is implausible without the Consent Decree. The Consent Decree gave Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories royalty free access to the transistor patent and pushed computing beyond the reach of the Communication Act of 1934. The Consent Decree actually won royalty-free access to all of AT&T’s patents for any company in the United States, but, as the co-inventor and former supervisor of the transistor work, the Consent Decree gave Shockley’s startup a degree of access and support equivalent to a research group within Bell Laboratories. With IBM also constrained by another Herbert Brownell Consent Decree in 1956, Silicon Valley emerged from Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories in the form of 400 companies with founders tracing to the talent recruited by William Shockley.
The track record of FCC regulation before and after 1956 leaves no doubt about the importance of non-regulation for the eventual global dominance of the information technology industry in the United States. The history of the communication industry exposes regulation as the means AT&T used to create and sustain a monopoly. Absent Brownell’s Consent Decree, the course of the computing would have followed the same pattern. The invention of the telephone in 1876 triggered 600 patent lawsuits by AT&T against competitors over the 15-year duration of the patent. AT&T never lost a the patent infringement case, but competitors won 50% market share between the expiration of the telephone patent in 1891 and JP Morgan urging Theodore Vail back as CEO in 1907. The tactics Vail used to restore AT&T to 85% market share attracted the first of three antitrust lawsuits.
Vail defended AT&T’s monopoly from the threat of nationalization underway in other countries and settled the antitrust litigation by embracing regulation in the form of the Kingsbury Commitment in 1913. The plan worked fabulously as the expansion of regulation via the 1921 Willis-Graham Act and the Communication Act of 1934 left AT&T with a government sanctioned (and government defended) monopoly over communication. The unsatisfactory stewardship of this monopoly by the FCC led to antitrust lawsuit number two in 1949 and number three in 1974. The Final Judgment negotiated by Attorney General Herbert Brownell to settle the second antitrust case in 1956 and the Modified Final Judgment motivated by Judge Harold Greene in 1982 to settle the third reflect a recognition by Brownell and Greene regarding the limitations of the Federal Communication Commission. The “active ingredient” protecting the public interest in both cases involved shrinking the extent of reliance on regulators.
Shrinking reliance on regulators also known as “deregulation” has proven successful strategy outside of antitrust litigation as the agency itself and Congress worked to unwind monopoly in communication starting with the MCI and Carterfone decisions in 1968.
Silicon Valley does not get started in 1956 to the extent public interest issues around the transistor and computing involve regulators as “referee” distinguishing between good and evil as Chairman Tom Wheeler describes the purpose of the Open Internet Order in 2015. The circumstances around the sudden arrival of the FCC and the Communication Act of 1934 to the regulation of computing today offers a case in point of the forces placing the future of Silicon Valley in doubt. Voice communication – the sole domain of the Communication Act of 1934 – jumped from the telephone network to the Internet on February 28, 1995, with the demonstration of Internet Phone by the Israeli startup VocalTec. The event triggered the ACTA petition filing demanding the FCC ban software enabling voice over internet protocol (VoIP) (aka impose regulation of the Internet.) The telecom industry launched Vail 2.0 with calls to bring the Internet within the jurisdiction of the FCC and the Communication Act of 1934.
Twenty years of FCC leadership under Chairs Hundt, Kennard, Powell, Martin, and Genachowski declined to take the invitation to regulate the Internet. Applying the Communication Act of 1934 became known as the “unthinkable” “nuclear option”. With the decision not to oppose Free World Dialup’s petition for VoIP non-regulation (aka Pulver Order) in 2004, the telecom industry added their support to the notion of preserving Internet independence. The seeming end of the risk of Internet regulation triggered an explosion of investment in IP communications starting with Skype and continuing with a proliferation of subsequent communication startups such as WhatsApp as well as communication functionality like Apple Facetime and Facebook Messenger. Network operators invested $1 trillion between 1995 and 2015 to expand capacity 1000-fold while the Internet remained beyond the reach of the FCC. The amazing results of non-regulation making communication even more central to the economic and social lives ironically triggered new calls for regulation – literally, regulation to preserve the benefits on non-regulation.  The return of the century old anxiety about the gatekeeper potential of network operators led to two attempts at implementing “non-nuclear” and “thinkable” regulation blocked by the court (see Comcast v. FCC and Verizon v. FCC) and a 3-2 vote extending the Communication Act of 1934.
The new policy of regulation awards the future to 1200 lawyers in Washington with no concept of or experience with the Internet as Chairman Wheeler stated as his objective in a first day speech to FCC staff in October 2014 stating – “…the 21st century flows through us”. Extending regulation to the Internet required policymakers to claim an equivalence between the telephone network and the Internet. The entire technical, business, and policy development of the Internet exists in a realm 180 degrees in polar opposition to the telephone network. The Communication Act of 1934 predates the transistor and electronic computing, yet the FCC finds it applies to anything with an IP address (aka everything). The voice quality and experience of a telephone call remains unchanged since 1934 when the FCC won status as the master product manager. The equivalent of a routine (and previously non-regulated information service) 4G/LTE smartphone connection today cost $10,000 per month as a regulated service in 1995.
The events and a decade of debate leading to the regulation of the Internet provides a case study and cautionary tale Attorney General Brownell sought to avoid in 1956. Consider the absence of problems sufficient to justify a wholesale change required framing of the policy change in pre-crime terms. Consider the decision to bring the Internet within the regulatory reach of the Communication Act of 1934 was justified to “protect” the amazing successes of non-regulation. Consider the Open Internet Order expands by a factor of 10 the segment of the economy within the FCC’s regulatory reach without consulting Congress. The new powers make regulatory arbitrage and seeking the grace of the FCC Chairman the path of least resistance to competitive advantage.  Even absent the 80 year track record of regulatory failure, the extent of arbitrary and capricious decisions necessary to impose regulation of the Internet leading up to February 26, 2015 is sufficient to end new investment.
A future generation of historians sorting through the rubble of Silicon Valley will discover February 26, 2015, as the beginning of the end.
[…  I am a named plaintiff in the appeal of the Open Internet Order scheduled for Oral Argument at the US Court of Appeals DC Circuit on December 4th.
My objection owes to the transformative implications of the equivalence asserted by the Open Internet Order between IP addresses and telephone numbers.
Discussions with folks about these topics reveals a significant gap in knowledge about the history of communication regulation and connection to the origins of Silicon Valley.
Everyone knows William Shockley (co-inventor of the transistor and Nobel Prize winner) put the “Silicon” in Silicon Valley by locating Shockley Semiconductor in Mountain View in 1956.
No one seems to remember the 1956 AT&T Consent Decree negotiated by Attorney General Herbert Brownell making the founding of Shockley Semiconductor possible.
The Consent Decree gave Shockley royalty free access to the transistor patent and left the nascent computing industry unregulated by limiting AT&T (and its regulators) to the communication business.
Prior to the Consent Decree, everything that eventually became the basis for the rise of Silicon Valley from the transistor to Claude Shannon’s Information Theory remained locked inside AT&T Bell Laboratories.
I believe a future generation of historians sorting through the rubble of Silicon Valley will date the beginning of the end to the February 26, 2015 vote by the FCC approving the Open Internet Order.
The essay connecting these dots is included below as text and posted at
Posted in NetHappenings

The Most Militarized Universities in America: A VICE News Investigation

Four categories of institutions of higher education dominate the VICE News list of the 100 most militarized universities in America: schools whose students attain their degrees predominantly online; schools that are heavily involved in research and development for defense, intelligence, and security clients; schools in the Washington, DC area; and schools that are newly focused on homeland security.

Twenty of the top 100 schools that instruct people working in intelligence agencies, the military, and the worlds of law enforcement and homeland security — including their private contractor counterparts — are effectively online diploma mills. Twelve are for-profit companies; several didn’t exist before 9/11. The schools have become so important that two of them, American Military University (No. 2) and the University of Phoenix (No. 3), rank near the top of the list based on the sheer number of their graduates working in the Top Secret world.

Seventeen of the 100 top schools are in the Washington, DC area, reflecting the concentration of all things national security around the nation’s capital.


Posted in NetHappenings